Conviction for money laundering follows the largest bitcoin seizure by UK authorities

22 Mar 2024, 10 mins ago

On 20 March 2024, just as bitcoin slightly faltered after a recent new all-time high, it was reported that the Crown Prosecution Service (“CPS”) had obtained the conviction of an individual for offences relating to money laundering. This has followed the largest seizure by UK authorities of the cryptocurrency bitcoin.


According to the CPS website, on 20 March 2024, an ex-takeaway worker was convicted of laundering the proceeds of crime by way of the cryptocurrency bitcoin.

This was preceded by UK authorities seizing bitcoin with a value in excess of £2 billion. The seized bitcoin is said to be linked to a massive investment fraud in China. The original fraud and acquisition of the bitcoin was undertaken by another suspect who is yet to be arrested and brought before the Court.

The seizure and conviction constitute an impressive result for both the Metropolitan police and the CPS, who have demonstrated that they use ‘tried and tested techniques’ to investigate and successfully prosecute novel ways of committing crime.

Indeed, we have written many articles on how tried and tested techniques can be used to investigate and prosecute crimes using new technologies:

Finextra – Tech and Crime Series: Cryptoassets and financial crime

New powers for the seizure and recovery of cryptoassets

The seizure and conviction have taken place at a time when UK authorities are about to be granted new powers in relation to the seizure and confiscation of cryptoassets.

These new powers will bolster both the current criminal and the current civil regimes for the seizure and confiscation of criminal property. 

For new technologies bring new practical concerns, and the new powers will provide practical solutions to deal with such issues as price volatility of cryptoassets, practicalities in the seizure and recovery of cryptoassets and practicalities in the storing of cryptoassets.

For those who would like to find out more about these developments, Thomas Cattee has written an article for Practical Law entitled: “Legal developments in the seizure and recovery of cryptoassets”.

Increased reports of crypto fraud and scams – More from Gherson

The team have previously written a blog entitled “What to do if you think that you have been victim to a crypto fraud or scam?” This followed an earlier blog entitled “What can you do to try and help avoid a crypto fraud of scam?” and a blog entitled “What to do if your NFT has been stolen?”

Criminal investigations and litigation

Gherson Solicitors’ criminal litigation, regulatory and investigatory team combine an expert knowledge of criminal and regulatory law underpinned with a firm understanding of digital assets and blockchain technology. As such, the team is able to provide expert strategic advice to anyone wanting to investigate and pursue a potential theft of crypto assets.

The team is also able to provide advice to anyone facing investigation in relation to any allegation of criminality involving cryptoassets.

Regulation and compliance

In these constantly changing times, firms that deal with cryptoassets, and additionally have exposure to firms that do, will need to carefully consider all their systems and controls to ensure that they are able to comply with all relevant AML and sanctions regulationsGherson’s white-collar crime and regulatory team are able to provide advice and assistance with AML and sanctions compliance, including in situations involving cryptoassets

Additionally, the team has recently started a series on the regulation of crypto, with the aim of advising those who work in the compliance of this sector. In addition, for those who would like advice on relevant issues, including those who have had issues with the FCA registration process, our specialist regulatory and compliance team can guide individuals and companies through the process.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on TwitterFacebook, or, LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2024